University of Maryland Extension

Beavers

beaver

Beavers

The beaver is the largest North American rodent. They may grow to 100 pounds, although the average is 35 to 50 pounds, and are suited to life in the water, with webbed feet and a large, flat tail. Beavers are territorial and live in colonies of four to eight related animals, near a year-round source of water. They are famous for their dam building skills used to create their own permanent pond by damming up streams. The beaver is making a comeback in many areas where they have been absent for decades because of development. They now frequently live in sediment control ponds in the middle of housing developments. Beavers feed at night primarily on woody plants although they will also eat herbaceous plants and aquatic plants. They become troublesome to homeowners when they girdle or cut down landscape trees, or when their dams cause flooding of roads or other property. Some of their favorite species are black gum, sweet gum, willow, pine, and maple. Entire trees can be brought down by beavers' chewing through the trunks.

Homeowners must put metal barriers of welded or woven wire fencing material around valuable trees to protect them from beaver damage. Landowners can install various structures in the dam to maintain the water at a certain level. These devices often consist of a perforated PVC pipe that is encased in heavy gauge hog wire. Fencing to exclude beavers from a pond is not very effective. When beaver populations become too large and routinely destroy landscapes it will be necessary to contact County Animal Control or the Dept. of Natural Resources.

Photo Gallery

beaver damtree damage by beaver
BeaversĀ are famous for their dam building skills used to create their own permanent pond by damming up streams. (lodge and dam in photo)Tree felled by beaver.
beaver damage to large treeprtoect tree from beaver damage
Damage to a fairly large shade tree.Homeowners must put metal barriers of welded or woven wire fencing material around valuable trees to protect them from beaver damage.
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